expert table tennis ping pong advice
Newgy Robot “Peculiarities”

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis (ping pong) newsgroup, rec.sport.table-tennis. This month's questions were asked in an e-mail by Mark Galecki. We encourage readers to send in your own questions. You may email or fax or write us. All questions cannot be answered, but we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.

Mark,

Again, thanks for all your comments and helpful suggestions. I'm glad you were able to successfully navigate all the typos and missing bits and pieces in the online coaching articles to learn something from them. FYI, many of the articles were written before the advent of the 40mm ball, so it does not surprise me that some of the settings suggested in the articles are inaccurate. I'll have to go back and correct these mistakes the next time I'm proofreading the articles.

Regarding some of the robot's peculiarities:

1.         The eyes in the net could be a bit smaller—now, hard hit balls get lodged in the net a lot.

Actually we will soon increase the size of the holes in the Trap Net. The hole size was not increased after the conversion to the 40mm balls, so this larger ball does have a tendency to get stuck in the net holes. The larger holes in the new nets will allow a 40mm ball to more easily pass through the net and get trapped between the Trap Net and the Back Net.

2.         I found that, with most lessons, if they specify the speed and angle of the head, the angle is wrong—that is, with that speed, and that angle the balls do not land in my court.

Answered above. Also please be aware that every robot will vary somewhat in its settings. For example, a ball speed of 3 on one robot may not be exactly the same speed on another machine. Use your common sense and judgment to slightly modify the settings so the ball lands properly on your side of the table.

3.         It is impossible to adjust frequency to 1 1/2 or below.

This is easily solved. Go to Radio Shack and get some Tuner Lubricant and Cleaner. Clear out all balls from the ball pickup area around the Ball Feed (Frequency) Motor. Turn your robot's ball frequency to 10 and spray the cleaner inside the motor. You will almost always hear an immediate increase in motor RPM's. This will clear out any dust or corrosion inside the motor that prevents the motor from turning at low voltage. Now turn the frequency down to as low as you want (even below 1.5!).

4.         The balls get stuck in the back area of the tray next to the upright plastic ball guide. One ball will stop there, and then you will start building a whole line of balls there behind the first one and you have to go and dislodge them to get more balls. If you change the angle of the upright guide there, from 90 degrees to the back of the tray, to 45 degrees, say, that will prevent that. In fact, sometimes there are lots of balls on one side and none up the upright ball guide—they are all stuck. It would be good to better profile the side of the center guide and bottom and angles of the tray.

Yes, we are aware of this problem and are working on a solution. Right before the conversion to 40mm balls, we designed a part called a Wedge Filler that prevented 95% of the incidences of this problem with the 38mm ball. But with 40mm balls, this problem re-emerged and needs to be re-addressed.

5.         The tray is somewhat loose as attached to the table (but there are no hard attachments so it is not possible to adjust) and falls back off the table just a bit. This changes the angle of the tray and may account for the property 4 above.

This one is also easily correctable. With every 2040 robot is a set of extra rubber tips and washers. These are placed on the support legs and are responsible for leveling the trays of the robot. See page 13 of our newly revised Owner's Manual for more info on this adjustment.

Good luck on your game.

Larry

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